Children's Hospital Colorado
Transplant Program

Transplant Program

We achieve some of the best outcomes in the nation by working with every medical and surgical specialty in the hospital to reimagine children’s lives.

About the Pediatric Transplant Program

When transplantation is the best option for your child to have as healthy a life as possible, the experts at Children’s Hospital Colorado are here to help. Our transplant program has been changing lives for 25 years. We have the only pediatric transplant program in the region with this magnitude of experience and expertise. Our unique multidisciplinary team approach to care offers patients excellent outcomes and hope for a better, healthier life.

100% Liver transplant patient survival for patients transplanted during calendar year, 2018
100% Patient survival rate one year after heart transplant, 7/1/2015-12/31/2017
100% Patient survival rate one year after kidney transplant, 7/1/2015-12/31/2017

Transplant specialists understand that families dealing with chronic childhood diseases can be overwhelmed by emotion and information. That’s why the Transplant Program at Children’s Colorado offers a unique multidisciplinary team for each child. Transplant care includes:

  • Our transplant teams have access to every medical and surgical specialty in the hospital for consultations.
  • In addition to our skilled pediatric transplant surgeons, our transplant teams include anesthesiologists, social workers, nutritionists and nurses, all trained in care and management of kids.
  • Transplant coordinators are on hand to connect kids and families with their care teams, and to provide education and resources to families before, during and after surgery.
  • Children's Colorado offers the only pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program in Colorado certified by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT).
  • Our Heart Institute is one of the leaders in heart transplantation for babies, kids and teens, with survival rates among the highest in the nation.
  • Our Kidney Transplant Program has performed 212 kidney transplants since 1988, with short- and long-term outcomes above the national average.
  • The Liver Transplant Program is the only program offering complete pediatric multi-specialty liver transplant services in the Rocky Mountain region.

Peer-to-Peer Adherence for Solid Organ Transplants

“Transplant is not a cure,” remarks Elizabeth Steinberg, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist with the Transplant Program. “It’s trading one disease for another.”

The post-transplant disease is a lot more manageable, but it still requires a battery of medications. Remembering to take them can be difficult, particularly for teens.

“We talk a lot about adherence strategies, whether that’s establishing a routine, using pillboxes or a tracking system, or doing some type of reinforcement or reward,” says Cindy Buchanan, PhD, the Transplant Program’s other licensed clinical psychologist.

Education helps, but hearing it from an adult only goes so far — especially when teens have heard it a million times. Drs. Buchanan and Steinberg created a virtual group where they can hear it from each other.

Each week for five weeks, teens with transplants connect via secure telemedicine software to a video chat led by one of the doctors. They talk about setting goals, overcoming barriers, negotiating peer pressure and other topics — but it’s not the topic that matters so much as the fact that they’re talking about it together.

“We don’t know yet what this is going to do for their adherence levels,” says Dr. Buchanan, “but we do know they’re enjoying it.”



Children's Colorado in the news

CBS News

Altruistic Organ Donor Meets Recipient

May 31, 2018

Manolo Gonzales had a life-threatening defect that was causing his liver to fail. Rebecca LaSalle, an altruistic woman, donated a portion of her liver not knowing who the recipient would be. The transplant changed Manolo's life.

The Denver Post

Facing Inevitable Liver Transplant, Young Girl Didn't Need to Look Far for a Living Donor

May 1, 2017

Peri Erickson, 3, underwent a liver transplant in which her mother, Claire, was the living donor. This is the second pediatric live-donor transplant this year performed through Children's Colorado and the University of Colorado Hospital. Michael Wachs, MD, surgical director of abdominal transplantation, and Shikha Sundaram, MD, medical director of the Pediatric Transplant Program, are quoted.

CBS4

Mother Gives Daughter "Life Again" After Liver Transplant

April 19, 2017

Claire Erickson donated 20 percent of her liver to help her daughter, Peri, 3, who was born with a rare disease. Michael Wachs, MD, chief of abdominal transplant surgery, performed the transplant on Peri and is interviewed.

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